Cocklebiddy to WA/SA Border Village (14th May, 183 miles)

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From Cocklebiddy eastwards, you drive through Madura which is midway between Perth and Adelaide. We had been warned by other travellers that this is where we would most likely interact with a kangaroo on the road. While we did not kill any kangaroos ourselves, there were plenty of carcusses on the road. At one point, it seemed like there was a dead kangaroo every 100 yards; it was a very depressing sight. We had also been advised not to drive between dusk and dawn to avoid hiting kangaroos, so I had thought we were safe during daytime. But, we saw a group of kangaroos today gayly hoping across the road, and that made for an anxious drive. The carion provides food for huge jackdaws and the wedge-tailed eagles.

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From the Madura Pass there is a very brief glimpse of the plain reaching down to the sea. Then you find yourself at ground level very quickly and the chance to take a photograph has gone. All along the Madura Pass are special western myall trees which are a protected species here.

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The main point of interest between Cocklebiddy and WA/SA Border Village are the Eucla sand dunes. You can see them below as the white mirage on the righthandside of the photo.

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Eucla was the site of an important telegraph station opened in 1877 to link Western Australia with the rest of the world. Today the telegraph station is a ruin and the nearby jetty is in disrepair.

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The white sand here is so so soft yet covered in beautiful plants. It had rained recently so the plants all looked fresh and we saw plenty of new shoots bursting through.

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It is easy to get distracted by the beauty around one and lose one’s bearings. I was very grateful to a couple in the carpark who advised me to look out for the big tree when I walked back from the coastline (middle of photo below) as that is where the telegraph station is. Without that reminder, I could have been walking for hours towards a nonexistent carpark (Lawrence was elsewhere with his drone and there was no phone reception here). I did try to follow my out-going footsteps, but that proved quite difficult. Obviously, I’d never have a job as a tracker!

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I did reach the coastline and you can see why this point was chosen to make a landing from the sea. Most of the coastline around here are sheer cliffs so unsuitable for landing.

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Of course, once you landed safely at Eucla there are still enormous expanses of nothingness to negotiate.

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We stopped at signposted ‘scenic spots’ to get a better view over the land here and see the memorials to explorers of this region. The stone below signifies a spot where Edward John Eyre ( of Eyre Highway fame) and his companions camped during their 1500 km journey from Fowlers Bay to Albany on 11 March 1841.

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By late afternoon we arrived at the WA/SA Border Village Roadhouse to be greeted by Rooey II (I do not know where Rooey I is) holding up a jar of Vegemite next to another famous signpost to the rest of the world.

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© Helen Gray 2020